I’m sure someone will ask so might as well outline the way I set up my (ever evolving) home network. For the record, I find this stuff fun, please do not unfriend me.
- ISP: I use the local cable provider and got a 2nd hand cable modem they sell for their integrated TV/Voice/Internet-Wi-Fi service, called them to get it registered under my account and I put it in “bridge mode” so all it does is being a modem. This enables me to use the gear I want and own Vs theirs, but can’t use the TV service or the voice service which is OK as I don’t need them.
- Firewall: I recently migrated from Untangle (community edition) after many happy years with it to OPNSense. Why?
- The 10+ year old PC I ran the firewall on was showing it’s age so I got me one of them sexy black boxes, re-used RAM I had on hand and bought a new M.2 drive (might as well)
- I have been aching to try OPNSense because that’s what the cool kids seem to use these days, and it’s a forked project of the mighty pfSense.
Switching: I have a limited number of devices to plug in so I use 5 of the 6 ports on the new appliances as a switch and complement with a “dumb” (aka unmanaged) Netgear 24 port switch. Do I need 24 ports? No, but it was only a few more dollars than the 16 so heck I went big. VLANs are handled directly on the OPNSense box. I also added a “dumb” 8-port gigabit switch I had doing nothing in my pegboard to simplify cable management.
- I use 3 access points from Ubiquiti, distributed in the house to compensate the way it’s designed and the heated floors do cause some signal interference as it’s electrical and not water-based. Overkill to support over 800 Wi-Fi connected devices in a town house you say? I would agree but this .. is fun.
- Unifi APs enable enterprise-level functions at affordable prices, which is great for home. I have 8 SSIDs set up out of a limit of 12 (I think), a SSID is a “Wi-Fi network name” like “Bob’s Home Wi-Fi” or many funny ones. I have some SSIDs for the home automation devices, the regular stuff like phones and computers, some to mess with, a guest one for home visitors and one guest for when I have customers over. Overkill again you say? Yes.
- To connect them physically, I use MoCA adapters from Actiontec as I was too dumb to think about fishing wires when we moved in this house a few years ago, prior to painting all the walls. Learn from my mistakes dear reader. I also tried Ethernet to powerline adapters I had but the result was a tad flaky and with “the work from home pandemic situation”, I found MoCA and never looked back.
- The Unifi controller resided on my Proxmox VE server, I wish these APs would work without that though like the HP/Aruba, Ruckus & Cisco products.
- Virtualization: Proxmox VE for the Unifi controller mentioned above, along with WordPress to try things, Cloudflare Tunnels to “remote” into my home lab services directly and Home Assistant.
Network storage: I use a Synology DS216+II with 2x 4TB NAS drives, mirrored. I also use 2x 4TB external USB hard drives for offsite backups. I use Docker on the NAS to run Guacamole, Jellyfin, Uptime Kuma and Dashy as a dashboard for the home lab.
- Not in diagram:
- An Eaton 5S1500LCD UPS to make sure everything shuts down smoothly. Why this one? Everything supports it apparently and it has great support under NUT.
- A Kasa Smart Plug with a basic LED lightbulb and a ThirdReality open/close door sensor to have light when I open the closet door and close the light too when I close the door. When you have trinkets handy, might as well use them!